July is really hot here. A few nights ago the local weather guy said, “It will cool down some at the end of the week. We should be seeing the high drop to about 99 for a few days.” Carl and I just laughed.
Our garden has pretty much had it, we have a few tomato plants that I think will begin producing again if we can keep them alive through the heat. The yellow squash have started producing again, however, I don’t think we’ll be having any more zucchini. The beans have died back and the vine borers have demolished the pumpkins and spaghetti squash. However, our okra looks great. Okra loves the heat.
I know up north that people don’t really eat okra, but here in the south we love it. Our family likes okra best when it has been fried. I know it so bad, but since we really don’t fry anything else, we’re okay with it.
Here’s some tips on growing okra:
- Planting times for our area are April 1st – July 15th.
- Okra really likes the heat – if you live in the south it will produce in the summer when everything else has stopped producing.
- Okra needs room so plant the seeds 8-10 inches apart.
- We have always just direct seeded the okra since they really don’t like having their roots disturbed. If you transplant use peat pots to start your seeds.
Problems and Pests:
- The only problem we have had with okra is grasshoppers eating the leaves. The chickens are working on that for us.
- Sometimes you will find a stink bug on them – just squish the bug. If you are squeamish about that you could try spraying them with some pyrethrum – we don’t do this.
Harvesting and Storing:
- Harvest when the pods are small – about 4-5 inches. If you let them get big, they will be very woody.
- When you cut it use scissors, don’t pull them, and leave some of the stem on them.
- Okra doesn’t store well however, it will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.
- If it is not eaten in a few days, you can freeze it. No need to blanch it. You can freeze it whole, or cut it up. I cut mine up and then bread them before freezing and then cook them while they are still frozen.
If you have any other tips for okra? If so, leave them in the comments so we can all read them.
To see what’s going on in more gardens, check out Frugal Gardening 101 and Garden Party Tuesday.